Getting engaged is exciting but can become overwhelming at times. For the newly engaged couple that is starting to plan your wedding, here are eight steps to help get your planning started off on the right foot.
- Shout it from the Rooftops…”I’m engaged!”
- Rally Up Your Support
- Choose Your Bridal Party
- Determine Your Budget
- Select Your Date
- Pick Your Theme
- Pick Your Venue
- Track Everything in Your Wedding Roadmap Online Planner
1) Shout it from the Rooftops – “I’M ENGAGED!”
The first thing to do is to share the news! The world of social media makes it so easy to spread the word. However, before you do any posting make sure to contact your closest family and friends first and personally tell them. The last thing they want to do is learn on social media that you are engaged.
Once you have shared with parents, your best friend, aunts or uncles, brothers or sisters, grandparents and all the most important people in your lives, you can then make the official announcement public. Change that relationship status to “Engaged”.
2) Rally Up Your Support
Who will be your biggest support system while planning your wedding? You want to have one or two people or resources you can bounce ideas off of, ask for suggestions and most of all just be there for you if you need it.
This might be a best friend, maid of honor, your mom, groom’s mom, or an aunt. It is also good to have someone that is outside your immediate circle. One of those resources can be your wedding photographer. They are there to support you through this process and provide you with a solid foundation of resources and knowledge that will save you time, money and most of all, stress! After all, they have extensive experience working with brides and grooms!
3) Choose Your Bridal Party
Choosing a bridal party can be stressful. You have many family and friends and don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so you may feel like you need to include everyone.
Keep in mind that you do not need to include everyone. Sit down with your fiance and write a list of who you want to have standing by your side, who has been there for you through the good and bad, who you want to enjoy the day with, and who you want to see in pictures years down the road when you share them with your kids? This is just a quick throw down of thoughts. Don’t overthink it.
Once you have your rough list, it’ll be much easier to make solid decisions. Maybe one of these important people could assist with greeting guests and another could be an usher. The options are limitless. The other thing to remember is that you do not need to have your bridal party equal.
Now the fun part – you get to invite them to be part of your big day. You can make this as simplistic or as extravagant as you would like.
4) Determine Your Budget
I like to approach this with positivity. In the ‘everyday world’, we have budgets, so this is no different. Many times family members will want to pay or pitch in for your wedding. The first thing that I talk to my brides about is to find out from those family members (usually parents or grandparents), if they are able to pitch in for the wedding. If so, ask them if they can provide a dollar amount they are willing to pay. This will get your budgeting jump-started. Then, you and your fiance can chat and see if you need to, or want to, budget in your own money as well.
Sometimes I hear from brides that her parents are going to pay for the reception. That is great! Try to find out an actual dollar amount they are willing to pay. Receptions can range widely and you don’t want to fall in love with a venue that might be more expensive than what your parents
had in mind.
Once you know the overall budget you can then drill down into each wedding category and set an approximate budget for each. This will help alleviate stress.
5) Choose Your Date
The easiest way to do this is to answer the following questions:
● Do you want a summer, fall, winter or spring wedding?
● When you envision yourself on your wedding day, what do you see?
● How soon would you like to get married?
● Do you want your wedding on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday?
● Are there any dates that you need to work around in the foreseeable future?
Answering these questions will help to narrow down to a month or two or a season. Sometimes you come up with a perfect date that is meaningful or a holiday weekend to help with guest travel. I recommend coming up with 2 or 3 dates and then discuss with others (parents, venues, VIP guests).
6) Choose Your Theme
Choosing a theme will set the tone for your entire wedding. There are so many themes to choose from in today’s wedding world. As you consider your theme, keep in mind whether your wedding will be formal, semi-formal or casual. You could also choose a hybrid of more than one theme. Some ideas include classic, rustic, beachy, mountain, romantic, vintage, whimsical, modern, bohemian, alternative, traditional, art deco, nautical, celestial, tropical, Christmas/holiday, animal or travel. Finding your theme will help you narrow your focus on venues.
7) Choose Your Venue
The Longbranch in Cedar Rapids, IA
Once you have a theme somewhat nailed down, start your venue search.
Venues can book up quickly, so this is the first thing you will want to book. The availability of the venue will determine your wedding date. Are you thinking of having your ceremony in a church and then your reception at another location? Maybe you are thinking of having everything in one place?
The Longbranch in Cedar Rapids is a beautiful, well-priced wedding venue that offers full-service amenities which takes a lot of pressure off of brides both in the planning phase and also during the wedding weekend so that you have more time to enjoy being a bride!
The Longbranch in Cedar Rapids
8) Track Everything in Your Wedding Roadmap (YWR) Online Planner
One service I provide, as a professional wedding photographer is an information Vault and Online Wedding Tracker and Planner. This helps alleviate the stress of having planning items in multiple places. This planner allows you to keep track of every step in your planning. Here is an
● Design Studio
● Layout & Seating
● Wedding Website
● After the Wedding
● Bar & Beverage
● Bride/Bridesmaids Fashion
● Bride’s Checklist
● Budget & Financial
● Favors & Gifts
● Getting Started
● Groom & Groomsmen
● Groom’s Checklist
● Misc. Items (Reimbursed)
● Rehearsal Dinner
● Rentals & Decor
● Timeline & Program
● Travel & Accommodations
● Wedding Planner
Image by Carissa Kruse
If you don’t see a category that you need, you can add it through our customized categories. You can even invite anyone that might be helping you plan – and assign them tasks. Everything in one place, on-demand and accessible anytime and anywhere.
One ‘bonus’ tip is to remember to choose an experienced photographer who will capture your day well. As a recommended Longbranch Weddings vendor, I would be happy to meet with you to discuss your big day!
I am a wedding entrepreneur, keynote speaker, planner, wife, self-proclaimed coffee addict, a mom to 4 dogs and active CEO with Weddings By Carue. I have found ways to merge my passions with business, weddings and helping people, resulting in becoming one of the most sought after wedding resource for brides and couples.
With over 1000 weddings under my belt and working closely with brides on a daily basis, I am your chief wedding planner, your advocate in helping you organize all the details. Tapping into my knowledge, resources and expertise allows you, your family and friends to enjoy your planning process without stress.
As a life enthusiast and visionary behind The Wedding Roadmap, I am passionate about helping brides have a stress-free planning experience, so let’s be friends – join my Facebook group exclusively for brides:
Weddings by Carue (Website)